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Turkish Cypriot Officials Say Christians Can Return to Army-Held Villages

Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Turkish Cypriot authorities in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus said Wednesday they have lifted restrictions on Maronite Christians reclaiming homes and property in villages that have been under Turkish military control for over four decades.

The announcement by the office of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci came three weeks after the collapse of high-level talks in Switzerland that aimed to reunify the island nation as a federation.

Akinci’s office did not specify when Maronite residents will be allowed to return, but said a timetable would be prepared shortly.

However, Cyprus’ government denounced the move, claiming it would entrench the island’s division and foment discord with other Cypriots who lost homes and property in the north but are prevented from reclaiming it.

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